When a child’s permanent tooth or teeth are knocked out in an accident or injury, parents understandably go into panic mode. Dental injuries are one of a parent’s worst nightmares. The pain and bleeding create a medical emergency. Because dental injuries often result from severe falls, auto accidents, or even assaults, there may be other injuries that need immediate attention.
Once any other serious injuries have been examined and the child is confirmed as okay with the exception of a lost tooth, parent’s thoughts turn to how to ease the child’s pain and save the child’s beautiful smile. No parent wants to contemplate having to buy a false tooth or teeth for a kid. In fact, parents encourage their kids to brush and floss in the hopes that the child will keep his or her teeth until old age.
Thankfully, there is hope for saving the knocked out tooth or teeth. To have hope of keeping your child’s smile looking bright, follow these steps.
Examine and Assess the Injury
Is the child suffering from serious injuries other than the lost tooth? If so, you may want to take the child to the emergency room. An emergency room doctor can examine the child’s face, mouth, and gums. If the injury is limited to the tooth being knocked out or loosened, contact a dentist immediately.
The dentist may be able to reattach the tooth, but time is critical. You must get your child to the dentist for an emergency appointment within 30 minutes to have the best chance of saving the tooth.
If the tooth is still attached but broken or severely damaged, call the dentist for an emergency appointment right away. If the blood supply to the tooth has not been cut off, there is a good chance the tooth can be saved. However, without dental intervention, the child is likely to lose the tooth.
Keep the Tooth in Good Condition
Retrieve the tooth and also retrieve any broken pieces of the tooth. Gently wash the tooth with water to remove any debris. It is important to avoid scrubbing the tooth. Scrubbing can damage the root cells, which are required for reattaching the tooth to the gum.
The tooth must be kept moist on the way to the dentist. If the child is old enough not to accidentally swallow the tooth, he or she should hold the tooth in place in their mouth. If this presents a worse hazard than losing the tooth, then soak a cloth in milk, salt water, or tap water and wrap it around the tooth.
Follow-up Care is Crucial
Even after the tooth is reattached, it is still possible to lose the tooth. Damage to the pulp (inside of the tooth) may not be visible. The first few weeks are critical to the tooth’s healing process, notes eMedicine health. The dentist or oral surgeon must provide comprehensive care. If your child ends up losing the tooth, don’t get too discouraged. There are several tooth replacement options, such as a dental implant in Calallen, Texas, or in your particular area. Dental implants are one of the strongest, longest-lasting tooth replacement options.
Locate a Quality Dentist Beforehand
Like knowing where the nearest emergency room to your home is located, it’s always wise to know in advance who to contact for emergency dental needs. No one plans on a tooth being knocked out, but once it happens, you have no time to go searching for a dentist. When a dental emergency arises, a prepared parent will know if their regular dental practitioner will provide emergency services right away, or if they will have to go to a different clinic.
No one wants a gap in their child’s smile. With modern dentistry, a knocked out tooth doesn’t have to result in a missing tooth. With proper dental treatment, the tooth can be reattached just like new.